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Local fireworks sales booming

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Juno Ogle Photo Gabriel Najar, left, and Derick Gomez remove packages of fireworks from a shipment Gomez received Tuesday at the TNT Fireworks stand at 1110 S. Main St. Getting a second shipment of products is unusual, Gomez and other TNT proprietors in Roswell said, but sales have been up this year.

Tuesday was an unusual day for the TNT Fireworks stands in Roswell, as each of the five tents received an extra pallet of products.

“Normally we don’t ever get another pallet sent to us during the sale,” said Derick Gomez, who runs the stand at 1110 S. Main St., as he and employees unloaded boxes that had just been delivered.

Alex Garza, who runs the TNT stand at 2513 N. Main St., agreed.

“This year sales were real quick to get going,” Garza said.

Garza has been selling for the Alabama-based company for 16 years.

“In those 16 years, there’s only been twice where they’ve sent a second shipment,” he said.

“In 16 years, I’ve sold out once, so I’m hoping this will be the second time they sell out,” he said.

Fireworks companies across the nation are reporting increased sales leading into the Independence Day holiday, and Roswell seems to be no exception.

“We’ve already done close to what we’d be doing by (July) 3 at this point,” Gomez, in his fourth year with TNT, said.

Early sales took off at Amy’s Fireworks, 1501 E. Second St., as well, but owner Bobby Arnett said the company has encouraged early purchases with the state’s restrictions on the number of people allowed in stores.

“Because of the COVID-19 restrictions that are out, we’ve been advertising pretty heavily for shoppers to come in and buy their fireworks early,” he said.

The tactic is working, Arnett said.

“People that normally would buy later have been buying their stuff early to make sure” they don’t have to stand in line outside, he said.

The TNT sellers agreed the city’s cancellation of its Fourth of July celebration, along with the pandemic, have contributed to the sales.

“People want to celebrate and enjoy the Fourth of July and we’re lucky to live in this country. It’s a big thing to celebrate,” Garza said.

“I think the canceling of the city’s show has actually helped us,” said Kelly McDonald, who has run a TNT stand at 4500 N. Main St. with his wife, Angie, and Jeff Lynn. All are teachers in the Roswell Independent School District.

“People have kind of taken it upon themselves. If they want to see them, they’re going to have to set them off or get together in a small group,” he said.

The coronavirus pandemic has also probably contributed to the increased sales, Garza said.

“It’s still something you can do. You can come get fireworks for you and your kids and stay home but enjoy an evening,” he said.

Family groups have been coming in to purchase larger fireworks packages together, Gomez said, including a $600 variety package. Typically, he sells one of those packages a year, he said, but received his second in Tuesday’s shipment and expected it to be sold within a day or two.

Both Arnett and TNT sellers said July 3 and 4 are traditionally the biggest days for sales.

“It’s a strange business because you do 80% of your business in the last few days,” McDonald said.

All reported artillery-type fireworks seem to be the big sellers this year.

“For whatever reason, we’re seeing a lot more bigger fireworks, like our finale-type fireworks and our artillery stuff as well, we’re selling a lot more of this year,” Gomez said.

City ordinance allows fireworks as set out in state law, including ground and handheld sparkling and smoke devices, fountains, ground spinners, illuminating torches, toy smoke devices and wheels. Aerial fireworks such as mines, Roman candles and shells are also allowed.

Not allowed in the city are bottle rockets, missiles and firecrackers that make a ground-level bang.

To keep up with local coverage of the coronavirus, go to rdrnews.com/category/news/covid-19-situation/.

City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or reporter04@rdrnews.com.